FORTUNE -- Here's the irony in the retail store Apple (AAPL) opened with such fanfare four years ago just north of the Place de l'Opéra -- one of the grandest squares in a city that has way more than its share:
Despite the millions spent renovating the 134-year-old marble and limestone edifice, the hours spent scrubbing away nicotine stains left by generations of chain-smoking bankers, the attention to detail that went into restoring the mosaic tile, the marble columns, the curving balustrade, the spiral staircases...
Despite all this, Apple Store Opéra -- the first stop on a five-city tour of what I'm calling the Apple retail palaces of Europe -- gets less foot traffic than its less pretentious sister store in a basement mall under the courtyard of the Louvre.
Clicker in hand, I watched people entering the Opéra store at lunch time and counted 94 in a quarter hour -- or 6.3 per minute. A few hours later I did the same at the Carrousel du Louvre and counted 130 visitors in 15 minutes -- 8.6 per minute, or 37% more.
Visitors are not the same as customers, of course, especially in an Apple Store. But nobody is a store customer without first walking in the door.
I had hoped to count how many iPhones, iPads and Macs Apple sold per hour at each store, but even if the company permitted it (which it doesn't), that's no longer possible. There is no caisse at either store. All purchases are now made either by self-checkout (using the iOS Apple Store app) or with the tricked-out iPod touches the staffers now wear on their belts.
I did attempt a quick snapshot count of how many people were fooling around with the different devices at each store Monday afternoon. Here's what I got:
Neither store gets a fraction of the foot traffic of, say, New York City's Fifth Avenue store. But of the two, the mall outlet was the busier. The Genius Bar at Opéra was nearly empty; Carrousel had a long waiting list.
That makes sense. The Carrousel store, after all, sits outside an entrance to one of the world's most popular tourist attractions. School groups and other visitors pass by it every day by the thousands.
For more detail on Opéra, see Gary Allen's 2010 Opéra Store Raises Apple Retail Experience
Next stop: Berlin.
It's just gone mobile.
FORTUNE – There was a time when web browsers duked it out for dominance on the desktop. But with users consuming information more and more on smartphones, tablets, and newer form factors like "phablets," the battleground has shifted to mobile. Who's winning?
As recently as June 2012, the competition was in a dead heat: Android led with nearly 22%, followed by Opera at 22%, then Safari on iOS MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 20, 2013 11:23 AM ET
Spotted touring Apple's new Paris Opera store on July 3
As Vice President Joe Biden was making his secret, unannounced Independence Day visit to Baghdad, Steve Jobs was apparently doing the same in Paris.
Someone who looks a lot like Apple's (AAPL) CEO was spotted on July 3 checking out the company's elegant new retail store on Rue Helevy, across the street from the Paris Opera.
The brief, 7-second video posted below (iPhone MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 7, 2010 6:33 AM ET
French fanboys camp out in the rain to see what Apple has wrought near the Paris Opera
Apple's (AAPL) pitch to journalists at Thursday's press preview was that its 294th retail outlet was an Apple Store like no other. Nevertheless, its opening Saturday morning was marked by the usual fanboy frenzy -- abeit with a French accent.
Set in a restored bank across Rue Halevy from the gilded Palais Garnier -- longtime MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 3, 2010 7:09 AM ET
Google today announced the release of VP8, a new video codec that it envisions will pave the way for the future of video on the Web.
While it wasn't mentioned once during the keynote, VP8 takes dead aim at MPEG LA's H.264 codec, which has the backing of industry heavyweights like Apple and Microsoft (who are both members of MPEG LA).
VP8 technology stems from Google's purchase of On2 Technologies last year. MORESeth Weintraub - May 19, 2010 3:03 PM ET
|Stocks: It's report card time on Wall Street|
|Pope Francis challenges the free market - The Buzz|
|General Mills reverses course on right to sue after backlash|
|5 people you might not tip (but should)|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|